Written by: Pastor Deon Malan of Coffee & Confetti
Every person has a family of origin, this where you originate from, where you gain some of your characteristics from. Your family of origin does not start from Adam and Eve or through the generations but from your father and mother. Many times our relationship with our family of origin is too close that we become enmeshed and form codependency. It is at this point that every romantic relationship you have or your marriage is at a dangerous place, due to the toxic relationship between your family of origin and your partner or spouse. When God created marriage, He gave us a specific equation for marriage. This equation is God + Husband + Wife.
“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” – Genesis 2:18
When we focus on the equation of God, we see that He created marriage for the husband and wife and the moment that they come together and consummate the marriage, they split from their family of origin and form their own family.
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” -Genesis 2:24
In the above verse we will have people that argue and say: “It refers only to the husband.” However, the context includes the wife as well. When God had marriage in mind, He included that the man and the woman will become one flesh. This means they make decisions together, they pray together, they stick together. However, when we do not split from our family of origin and cleave to each other, we allow the toxicity of the family to infiltrate the marriage. How does this infiltration take place? Sharing everything with your family of origin before you share it with your spouse. Allowing your family of origin to know exactly what is happening in your marriage, this includes any marital problems, your financial status or even your sex life. Accepting the advice of your family of origin above the opinion of your spouse. Does this mean that we need to push away the family totally? Absolutely not.
It means that we need to establish boundaries that clearly spell out the consequences of their actions. These boundaries include privacy of internal marital affairs, such as financial status (i.e. you can tell the family of origin you applied for a new job, they do not need to know the remuneration) or conflicts. physical boundaries that place distance between you and your family of origin and emotional boundaries so that you are not manipulated. When we realize the necessity of these boundaries, we can clearly start understanding the priority list of God, which operates in the following way:
Firstly – God because He is the beginning and the end Secondly – You and your spouse – “They became one flesh.” Thirdly – Your children – They are part of YOUR family. Fourth – Family and friends – They form part of the outer circle Then, everything else.
Understanding these principles clearly will help you to build an extremely strong marriage and ultimately a strong family without the toxicity from your original family of origin.